Scottish Championship Match Day 25: Life in Livi

Scottish Championship

Welcome back to this week’s round up of the Scottish Championship. After the break last week due to the Scottish Cup, three fixtures were played out. This week saw the champions toppled, the bottom club’s spirit broken and two similar sides inseparable. Two fixtures weren’t played, but for once it isn’t the weather that separates them, but rather the ridiculous challenge cup! The postponed fixtures will be played later in the week.

Livingston 4-1 St Mirren

In a first v second tie it wasn’t unfathomable that Livi would triumph against Jack Ross’ Saints, but the absolute
capitulation was not what anybody anticipated! It was St Mirren who even took the lead, Ryan Flynn scoring after only two minutes for the visitors. On loan Rangers forward Ryan Hardie took advantage of a defensive error nine minutes in to tie the game up. Hardie got his second of the afternoon just five minutes later, hitting home a sweet volley to go 2-1 up. Well travelled striker Lee Miller got the third goal for Livingston 22 minutes in. He was cut by Falkirk recently, deemed not good enough to haul Falkirk from their relegation battle, yet he rolled back the years to bag himself an overhead kick. Hardie could have had a hat trick in the second half as his shot cannoned off the crossbar, but the three points were sealed deep into stoppage time, Scott Robinson firing in the fourth. This win keeps Livingston in second place, three points above Dundee United, and with a ten goal superior goal difference. St Mirren will have had their confidence dented, though have such a comfortable cushion at the top of the table that they won’t be suffering too much.

Brechin 0-1 Falkirk

Somebody please give Brechin a break! At home to 8th placed Falkirk and they are drawing 0-0 deep into stoppage time. They saw their young midfielder Aron Lynas sent off with twenty minutes to go in the game for a nasty lunge of Falkirk’s Tom Taiwo. Falkirk got their goal in the 93rd minute, courtesy of Watford loanee Alex Jakubiak. They were good value for their win, dominating both possession and shots throughout the match. On top of this, Jakubiak followed up a Rory Loy shot to take an effort on goal which hit off the arm of the defender – VAR not quite reaching as far down the football system as Brechin City. The win was huge for Falkirk, as it now has them nine points ahead of ninth placed Dumbarton, though the Sons have three games in hand.

Queen of the South 1-1 Morton

Queen’s patchy form continued, dropping points at home to a Morton side who have found themselves in the playoff spot in recent weeks. Gary Harkins came closest to scoring the game’s opening goal, hitting a free kick off the crossbar early on, though it was the home side that opened the scoring. Stephen Dobbie grabbed his 24th goal of the season, 33 minutes into the game. He played a neat one-two with Lyndon Dykes before stroking the ball under Derek Gaston in the Morton goal. Harkins was proving to be a danger to the Queens back line, setting up Gary Oliver to pull Morton level ten minutes after the break. Connor Murray came off the bench for the final half hour and came painfully close to sealing the points for the home side. With the final kick of the game he curled a shot from outside the box, his attempt hitting off the goal post and bouncing out of play. The draw keeps Queens 6th on 34 points and Morton 4th, in the playoff position, with 35 points.

Downtown

Ross County remain bottom of the pile this week, though they did gain a credible point against an in-form Hearts side. Kyle Lafferty scored the opener for Hearts from a free kick, its late dip outfoxing County ‘keeper Scott Fox (sorry for the pun). Jason Naismith equalised for Owen Coyle’s Staggies, and could very nearly have won it late on. The game finished up a draw, a disappointing one for Europe chasing Hearts, but invaluable to the bottom team. The match also had the novelty of two brothers facing each other, with John Souttar of Hearts playing against Harry Souttar, on loan from Stoke City.

Moving on up

Raith Rovers stay top despite losing their lead in the 93rd minute to Albion Rovers. Alan Trouten put Albion ahead early on, though Raith equalised through Euan Murray five minutes before the break. Jason Marr conceded an own goal with under ten minutes to go to put Raith ahead, but a 93rd minute Trouten goal rescued a draw for the hosts. Despite dropping points Raith remain six points ahead of second placed Ayr, with the Ayrshire team holding the slight advantage of having a game in hand.

The League Roundup

After match day twenty five, the league table looks like this:

Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against G.D Points
1 St Mirren 25 17 3 5 46 28 18 54
2 Livingston 24 12 7 5 40 26 14 43
3 Dundee United 22 12 4 6 30 26 4 40
4 Morton 23 9 8 6 33 23 10 35
5 Dunfermline 24 9 7 8 39 28 11 34
6 Queen of the South 24 9 7 8 38 34 4 34
7 Inverness 23 8 6 9 30 28 2 30
8 Falkirk 25 7 8 10 28 39 -11 29
9 Dumbarton 22 4 8 10 15 30 -15 20
10 Brechin 24 0 4 20 18 55 -37 4

Once again, it is another week of an incomplete fixture list with only St Mirren and Falkirk having played all 25 games so far. This is poor for the symmetry of the table, but is excellent for all the future permutations of the teams swapping places, especially with 14 points lying between 2nd and 8th place. A good or bad run of form can have remarkable affects on the teams. Despite the fragmented fixture list, this was an intriguing set of results. Stay tuned for next week’s Scottish Championship review, where the magnitude of the (unofficially) most unpredictable league in the world will take effect once more.